Washington Prowler

Huckabee and Hoffman

Here's Mike's chance to impress conservatives. Also: Hillary: Desperately not seeking Susan. 

By 10.15.09

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WILL HE OR WON'T HE?
Fox News host, garage band cover guitarist, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will be making a long-planned speech before the New York Conservative Party in Syracuse, New York on October 28, but has thus far declined to say whether he will formally endorse or financially support Conservative Party House candidate Doug Hoffman, who is running to fill former Rep. John McHugh's 23rd Congressional District seat.

Most Republican Party leaders have thus far taken a pass in endorsing Hoffman, who has the support of the conservative Club for Growth, as well as the American Conservative Union. House minority leader John Boehner and his right hand man, Rep. Eric Cantor have refused to get in the middle of the race, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have also declined to support Hoffman.

Huckabee had agreed to attend the dinner for the state party in upstate New York some time ago and is looking forward to using his speech to draw attention to Hoffman, according to a longtime Huckabee aide. But Huckabee has not decided whether to fully endorse Hoffman or just "say some nice things about him to boost his candidacy," says the source, adding, when asked how far Huckabee might go to support the conservative in the race, "We probably won't be going so far as to let him tap into our national fundraising network, if that's what you mean."

Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party line in the special election after state Republican Party officials and the Republican National Congressional Committee chose to place liberal Dede Scozzafava on the ballot. Sources within Club for Growth, who requested anonymity, say that the organization has recently polled the 23rd District to measure the impact of its $125,000 media buy over the past ten days, and that it appeared that among likely voters, Hoffman may now be running second, with Scozzafava slipping to third. Hoffman has been running TV advertising in several media markets within the district, while the Republican candidate has barely been visible on TV. 

RICECAPADES
Advisers to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were none too thrilled to see Amb. Susan Rice, Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations, given prominent placement in the Situation Room briefing on Afghanistan-Pakistan Wednesday. Rice and Clinton have knocked heads since early in the Obama Administration transition, when Rice demanded the same access and senior staffing levels as Clinton at the State Department was expected to receive. Clinton was present at the meeting as well, via video link. Some Clinton advisers believe that Rice, the former Clinton Administration State Department hand and Brookings Institution fellow, at times has Obama's ear more than Hillary does.

"[Rice] is far more savvy about using her UN post for having her views on international affairs heard than others in the past," says a current Clinton adviser. "It seems like every time we turn around she has something to say about Iran, Iraq, negotiations with Russia, whatever, and Secretary Clinton hasn't had a chance to weigh in at all."

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